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April 28, 2017
Updated May 2, 2017
Northwest Missouri State University on Friday night awarded 225 master’s and specialist degrees to begin its weekend of spring commencement ceremonies.
Additionally, Northwest recognized two candidates for its Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership offered jointly with the University of Missouri-Columbia. The candidates will have their degrees conferred by the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“It’s another chapter for you as you walk out of Northwest Missouri State University, still remaining Bearcats but knowing there’s a next journey, a new job on the horizon, a next step for each and every one of you,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski told graduates during his opening remarks. He added, “It’s a celebratory day. We honor each and every one of you because it’s about persistence, perseverance, grit and resilience. Some of your journeys were pretty straight forward. Others were down winding paths.”
Jasinski also reminded graduates that they are part of a minority one-third of the U.S. population who holds a bachelor’s degree or above. He encouraged them to connect with others and be active citizens.
“Bearcats power communities. We power lives. We empower you to be Bearcats,” he said. “Bearcats learn. They connect. They care. They practice civility and they show pride. We talk about being a University of Champions and we can back that up.”
Dr. Tiebing Shi, an assistant professor of marketing and Northwest’s 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipient, delivered the evening’s commencement address. A Northwest faculty member since 2010, he teaches courses in advertising and promotion, consumer behavior, marketing management, and international marketing and business.
During his remarks, Shi recounted challenges he faced as a child and as a University instructor and the ways he embraced those challenges to learn and become stronger.
Born into a family in an economically-disadvantaged district in China, Shi overcame the financial challenges his parents faced. Shi told of his father borrowing books from a club at the factory where he worked, and when his parents limited study time because they could not afford to pay their electricity bills, Shi and a classmate realized they could go to bed early in the evening and wake early to study during daylight hours.
“In this process, I found a benefit of reading borrowed books,” Shi said. “I had to finish reading them in time to avoid paying overdue fees. I am grateful for the club, which helped me satisfy my curiosity as a young boy without adding any financial burden to my parents. Reading in the club was one of the best times I have ever had in my life.”
Shi also discussed the challenges he faced upon becoming an educator to connect with students and pass on his knowledge efficiently. He sought advice from colleagues and embraced the time-consuming preparation and activities that come with his role as part of a larger cause to educate a younger generation.
“These experiences in my life are valuable treasures for me,” Shi said. “They tell me that we are able to overcome many challenges, which seem formidable, and after we overcome these challenges, we will become more confident and we will gain more powerful will.”
The ceremony was the first of three commencement ceremonies during the weekend at Northwest. The University will award bachelor’s degrees during ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
In all, the University’s spring graduating class consists of 894 students. The most common master’s degrees are applied computer science and business administration. The most common bachelor’s degrees are agricultural business, business management, elementary education and psychology.
Geographically, 585 graduates come from Missouri, and 121 hail from Iowa; 119 are international students. Northwest’s spring graduates represent 28 states and eight countries. Fifty-two percent are female, and they range in age from 19 to 59.
About Northwest Missouri State University
With an enrollment of more than 6,500 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its flagship Maryville campus as well as a new Kansas City location and in St. Joseph.
Founded in 1905, Northwest was ranked in 2015 and 2016 by U.S. News and World Report as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri, and it has met all measures of the state’s performance-based funding initiative during four of the model’s first five years. Safewise ranks the city of Maryville as one of the “Safest College Towns in America,” while BestCollegesOnline.org has named the Northwest campus one of the “50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.”
The University boasts a 59 percent graduation rate, which is in the 89th percentile of Northwest's national peer group. In addition, 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. Zippia, a career website, recently named Northwest the best college In Missouri for getting a job.
Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their resumes with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory School, National Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the RT Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area, the internationally ranked Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.
Furthermore, its vibrant and diverse learning community offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the state, saving students an estimated $7,300 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program.
For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/facts/.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468